Popular canal-side pub the Top Lock in Whittle-le-Woods reopened on Friday following a two-month closure.
New licensee, Mike Hales, has taken the helm along with Curtis Lunt, as manager.
Mike, who comes from Bolton and also runs The Butlers Arms at Pleasington, says he jumped at the chance to take on the historic pub when it became available.
“The Top Lock is a beautiful pub in a stunning location with lots of potential,” he said. “I can remember many happy days out here as a little boy with my family but I never dreamed one day I would be its licensee.”
Owners Star Pubs & Bars and Mike hope to undertake a complete refurbishment of The Top Lock in the future. For now, £35,000 has been invested in upgrading the building.
“I knew how much locals were missing The Top Lock and with summer on the way my priority was to reopen it as quickly as possible,” said Mike.
Outside the pub has been repainted and new signage put up, whilst inside The Top Lock has been redecorated and new furniture and decorations added.
The former landlords of the Top Lock Phil and Susan Entwisle handed over the keys in March. Phil took over management of The Red Lion in Wheelton, saying that “eye-wateringly high” rent and “unaffordable” business rates had ultimately driven him to step down from the well-known watering hole.
Mike plans on building on The Top Lock’s reputation for cask ale with a choice of six on tap. Local beers will be showcased with a regularly changing cask ale from a local microbrewery. A specialist gin bar is also being added with a range of 40 gins including Cuckoo gin from Holmes Farm behind the pub. The installation of a barista quality coffee machine will enable coffee to be served throughout the day.